Top architect Hadid's defamation lawsuit prompts retraction

By Jonathan Stempel NEW YORK (Reuters) - A well-known architecture critic has retracted a portion of a recent book review that Pritzker prize-winning-architect Zaha Hadid claimed in a lawsuit had defamed her. Hadid sued Martin Filler and the New York Review of Books last Thursday in New York state court, claiming that Filler's June 5 review improperly called her reputation into question and falsely implied her indifference to alleged difficult working conditions of migrant workers on big Middle East construction projects. The Iraqi-born Hadid, who is a British citizen, objected in particular to a passage that she said was taken out of context, in which Filler said she showed no concern for an "estimated one thousand laborers who have perished" while building the Al Wakrah stadium she designed for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. In his retraction, a copy of which the New York Review provided to Reuters and is posting to its website, Filler said the passage from his review of Rowan Moore's "Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture" was based on a statement by Hadid at a February 2014 press event about construction worker deaths in Qatar. Filler said he agreed with Hadid that work on the Al Wakrah stadium is not scheduled to begin until 2015. "There have been no worker deaths on the Al Wakrah project and Ms. Hadid's comments about Qatar that I quoted in the review had nothing to do with the Al Wakrah site or any of her projects," Filler said. "I regret the error." Oren Warshavsky, a partner at law firm Baker & Hostetler, on Monday said Hadid "carefully considered the issues at stake to her professional career and reputation" before deciding to sue. "We are in receipt of Mr. Filler's retraction issued today and aware of the New York Review of Books' plan to post it," he said. "Ms. Hadid together with counsel are reviewing it now and will respond after further careful consideration." Known for her futuristic designs, Hadid in 2004 became the first woman to win the Pritzker Architecture Prize, often called the Nobel prize of architecture. Her projects include the London Aquatics Centre built for the 2012 Summer Olympics. In her lawsuit filed in a New York state court, Hadid had sought damages, a retraction and a halt to further publication of Filler's book review. The case is Hadid v. NYRev Inc et al, New York State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 158269/2014. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Leslie Adler)